Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013
Forty naturalization candidates from twenty countries became citizens of the United States of America at Colorado National Monument on September 17th.
It was on the edge of one of the monument’s spectacular canyons that U.S. Magistrate Judge Gordon P. Gallagher convened a special outdoor session of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado and administered the oath of citizenship. Fittingly, “American the Beautiful,” sung by Destinee Reed, opened the ceremony.
Superintendent Lisa Eckert shared the story of the monument’s first caretaker, John Otto, whose tireless pursuit of national park status for the area resulted in President William Taft designating Colorado National Monument as our nation’s 25th NPS site in 1911.
Always the patriot, John Otto named the rock formations he encountered while trail building after great American heroes and presidents and historic events. Some of the rock formations, such as Independence Monument and Liberty Cap, still bear the names he gave them and are a testament to what one passionate individual can accomplish.
Following remarks by guest speakers representing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, United States Senator Mark Udall, and the Hispanic Affairs Project, many of the new citizens shared their own inspiring stories of passion and perseverance as they worked to achieve citizenship.
Colorado National Monument Association and the Hispanic Affairs Project hosted a reception for the 150 attendees immediately following the naturalization ceremony.